On Creation, Robotics, and Our Place in the World by Jason Peters
“Matter is neither created, nor destroyed” – Antoine Lavoisier
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – The Bible, English Standard Version
I am not a traditionally religious person. While I have my why’s and how’s of the way the universe works, as well as my disagreements with a number of the teachings of various organized institutions of religion, I will save that for another article.
With that being said, I do not automatically discount all teachings of a particular religion simply because I disagree with one or several of them. There are a number of ideas expressed and examined within the totality of a given philosophy, and each one should be considered by way of its own merits, or lack thereof.
So ignoring any other teachings contained within The Christian/Catholic Bible, I would like to examine one in particular that holds weight as a certain and inalienable truth:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.”
Now, in the above quote, God does not necessarily mean “God.” God refers to the creator of life, which you may know as God, Allah, The Universe, A Three-Headed Dragon, or any other entity, knowable or otherwise. It is not important what the entity responsible for human creation looks like to you specifically; only that you understand that when we speak of God for the length of this article, we refer to that entity or entities responsible for the creation of human life.
So before we continue, we need to accept the above statement as truth. If you do not already accept this as so, I present to you Antoine Lavoisier’s Law of Conservation of Mass:
“Matter is neither created, nor destroyed.”
There is no need to verify this law, as people much smarter than you and I have already done so; it may be taken for granted as a statement of fact, and demonstrated in many different ways through simple observation. Therefore, the mere fact that we are forms of matter indicates that we were created and born of something; some unknowable form of matter, fashioned by a being or entity equally unknowable, and beyond our capacity to understand.
Whether traditionally expressed or not, it is probably safe to say that most people do, in fact, agree with the above statement in one form or another, leading naturally and logically to the question of who, then, is responsible for creation? And while it is impossible for us to ever to know the answer to this in our current existence with 100% certainty, it has not stopped a majority of people from coming to a definitive conclusion on the matter, as it is our inherent nature to try and understand the meaning of our existence, so as to allow ourselves to develop a system of behaviors, which are ultimately mere manifestations of our personal worldviews.
So how does all of this point to the validity of the notion that we are created in the creator’s image? The underlying answer is that, ultimately, there is no such thing as pure creation, certainly not in the sense that many organized religions would have you believe, which treats creation as a form of magic; creating something out of nothing, which science has demonstrated to be wholly impossible.
Given that matter is neither created, nor destroyed, everything becomes a complex transference of energies. However, it still requires an entity to fashion that energy into a given form. From there, it is only logical that an entity would fashion a creation in its own image, because all creation is inspired from the environment and experience of said entity. The idea that there is such a thing as “true creation” – creating something from nothing – is both illogical and physically impossible.
The easiest way to observe this in effect is to simply observe the human experience. Science Fiction has long warned of the dangers of man playing The Creator, and yet we continue to do so every day, to a staggeringly large effect.
The most easily visible expression of this idea is in the world of tech and robotics. For many years, the ultimate goal has been to get closer and closer to that Holy Grail of Technology: Artificial Intelligence; True Artificial Intelligence. Creating a robotic being that thinks and acts for itself; that displays emotion.
In essence, our lasting and longing desire is to create true life; artificially created by man, yet possessing the supra-natural qualities of life.
It is our desire to be The Creator; because we were fashioned in his image.
We were fashioned in his image because it is the only possible way by which a being can create; by way of its influences and experiences.
Consider the creations of artists. An artist does nothing but create, and yet every piece of work is a representation of their thoughts, feelings, and outlook of the world, in response to their experience throughout. Even true expressions of imagination, from a grotesque monster to an otherworldly alien, are nothing more than components of different real-world beings; it’s simply that they are pieced together in a way that is different than what we are accustomed to, in essence giving way to the illusion of creation.
There is no such thing as truly original creation. Whether tangible or immaterial, all ideas are born from previous experiences and sensory input; all energy is transferred, in any and every form, and so it is only logical to assume that the same holds true in other planes of existence as it does for our own; that all energies are transferred and passed along in an endless cycle of trans-dimensional evolution; one entity constantly feeding the creation of another as it moves on from its previous form into something new, perpetuating the cycle of creation.
Matter is neither created, nor destroyed.
Ideas are neither created, nor destroyed.
Life itself is neither created, nor destroyed.
Still, that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?